With video-on-demand slowly gaining ground across Europe, a conglomerate of seven French animation producers and distributors have joined forces to make their toons available to VOD cable operators under one umbrella brand.
The brainchild of former Canal J and Voyage marketing exec Didier Bailleux, Zooloo Kids combines the animation catalogues of Dupuis, Dargaud-Marina, Millimages, Xilam, France Animation, Ellipsanime and Antefilms for VOD viewing in France. Each producer owns 10% of Zooloo Kids, with the remaining 30% split between three private investors. ‘We didn’t have to invest tons of money, and it’s not risky, financially speaking,’ says Serge Ewenczyk, a producer for Millimages.
Before the end of the year, Zooloo Kids will expand its footprint in Europe onto high-speed TV services in Belgium and Spain. The plan is to eventually consolidate all animated VOD services in Europe under the Zooloo Kids brand. ‘Right now it’s the best of French animation; but soon it may become the best of European animation,’ says Leon Perahia, director of Dupuis Audiovisuel, one of the first partners to come aboard the project.
When more countries pick up the kids VOD brand, additional programming from local third-party distributors and producers could help localize the service to appeal to regional audiences. But the original 200 hours provided by the seven shareholders will always be available to any VOD provider that licenses Zooloo Kids. The end objective is for the brand to eventually encompass 400 hours of European animation. Zooloo might also cross the ocean soon to supply VOD services in Montreal, Canada. Perahia hints that former co-pro partners based there are keen to license the VOD brand.
Zooloo Kids is currently available through France Telecom’s Maligne TV broadband service. For each half hour of animated programming they want to view, parents who subscribe to the service must pony up one Euro, although Perahia expects that this price will come down as the market for VOD grows.